Using Mobile Technology for Problem Need Identification
in School-aged Children Environment
Gisli THORSTEINSSON1, Andrei NICULESCU2,3
1 University of Iceland,
v/Stakkahlid, 101, Reykjavik, Iceland
2 Spiru Haret University,
13 Ion Ghica Street, Bucharest 3, Romania
3 I C I Bucharest
(National Institute for R & D in Informatics)
8-10 Averescu Blvd.
011455 Bucharest 1, Romania
Abstract: This paper attempts to examine the value of using smartphones as a notebook (SN) in young students’ homework to support their ideation skills. Participating case study students easily made use of the SN at home for recording problems and needs (PN) as well as initial solutions they had identified in their environment. The study has proven that the SN is an important tool that also supported communication and collaboration with parents. Furthermore, it was an important media in transporting homework to school and a great help in starting off lessons. Moreover, the SN increased the students’ interest for their homework, as they found it practical and easy to use. When the SN was used as a problem-needs identification tool it activated the students’ ideation at the initial state of their ideation. The SN also enabled younger students to generate the content of their coursework and thus improved the home-school connection.
Keywords: Problem-need identification (PNI), ideation, Smartphones, schoolwork.
CITE THIS PAPER AS:
Gisli THORSTEINSSON, Andrei NICULESCU, Using Mobile Technology for Problem Need Identification in School-aged Children Environment, Studies in Informatics and Control, ISSN 1220-1766, vol. 21 (4), pp. 431-438, 2012.
Fast progress in information and communication technologies has supported production of advanced mobile devices. Such devices are commonly used by students from different grades or age groups. It is important during the design of modern educational context to include mobile devices that are capable of data transfers and accessible from everywhere. Using mobile devices can enable students to record information in their home environment with a view to using it as a source for their school work. The information can easily be accessed both at home and in lessons at school.
In this research smartphones were used by students instead of conventional notebooks to support their ideation. Notebooks have been used by many inventors, designers, engineers and scientists, such as Edison, da Vinci, Jefferson, Einstein and Tesla (Grisson & Pressman, 2000). They used them to record their problem-needs identifications, initial ideas and results from observations.
Such a notebook offers users to keep track of all ideas that pop up during the day. If we don’t record them, they will be forgotten. Some of them might look trivial to us, as others look very impressive and valuable. However, all of them might have the potential to become something more. One of the biggest opportunities such a notebook gives is to allow ideas to be forgotten for a while and be accessible later. A smartphone can also be used in a modern school context as a notebook to support communication and collaboration during students work. It can, furthermore, be a great help in starting off school work based on students ideation.
A notebook is not a legal document to enable protection of new ideas. However, it is valuable, in this context, as it offers a chronological record of a new idea (an invention or design) and its reduction to practice. Each entry must be signed and dated, by a witness. The witness should not be someone with a conflict of interest, but a member of an official institution. If an inventor or a designer ever has to go to court to prove up on a new idea, then the witness would be called to the stand to testify that the signature is theirs and they signed that page on that date.
The design of the smartphone application used in this research (see image 2) was based on observations of young students recording ideas. They seemed to be at ease drawing small basic pictures of the ideas using a specific pen, in the way that they could have the whole picture within their range of vision at the same time, just as they see the idea in their mind’s eye. With the smartphone they were also able to take photographs or simply record a verbal description of the need or problem they had identified. They could access their ideas in lessons and share online.
The paper will first look into the literature of Problem-Need Identification (PNI) and ideation. Subsequently, the authors define the research methodology and report the results. Then, they discuss the results and make their conclusions.
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